The Happy Children

“Parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” You hear it everyday. Of course, it has oh so many perks, which is why so many of us dive into it regardless of this statement. We’re constantly tormented by our decisions and how they affect our children. While I love talking to other moms and using everyone as sounding boards (it does take a village, after all), I often end up leaving these group chats feeling like I’m dropping the ball. I rarely put kale in my kids’ smoothies. Eh, who am I kidding? I rarely muster the oomph to make them smoothies at all. I drop the occasional curse word. I have been known to lose my cool. But then I’ll have a moment like the other night and it’s like putting a salve on the open wounds that parenting can leave behind. I was putting the boys to bed, and we began joking with each other as I closed the doors. I don’t even recall what made them giggle but each time I re-opened the door they were in hysterics. I finally ended the “game” and just listened as they laughed with one another. And it hit me like a freight train: I’M RAISING HAPPY CHILDREN. Dude, it’s really something.

I let the feeling wash over me and I felt a warmth I hadn’t felt in a long while. I don’t want to say I’ve reinvented the wheel or anything but I’ve been pretty open about my struggle with anxiety and bouts of depression. As anyone who suffers in this way knows, you worry about giving this to your kids … that they will see me during these periods and my occasional habit of getting lost in thought or engage in incessant frowning and they will soak this from me like a sponge. When it comes to passing the torch, this is hardly what you want to give your offspring. Seeing my children go about the world without a care is pretty awesome, and I guess I had never really fully thought about it before.

In this day and age of school shootings and constant uprisings, sending your kid out happy is better than giving them a good breakfast, clean clothes, or a backpack filled with goodies. There’s a reason people snapped their fingers and tapped their steering wheels to Pharrell’s ear-worm, “Happy”. The feeling is contagious and, despite my own struggles, I’ve somehow managed to send my kids out into the world with their shields of happiness, ready to take on whatever life hands them. I know they are going to face challenges but it makes me feel better knowing they have this underlying state of contentment that will quell (hopefully) any storm.

The next time you see that unquenchable curiosity of your child or that irrepressible laugh or that innocent, toothy grin, bask in it. Take pride in it. As a parent, you are a huge part of that. When you close that door at night and that last giggle hangs in the air like a wonderful dream and that last kiss lingers on your lips like a lifelong promise, savor it. It’s happiness, and that’s all we can really hope for when it comes to our children.




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  1. Ned says:

    Well said, Marn!!!!!

    You have great, happy kids! They make me smile a lot! Today, Mima used her “claw” to attack the boys as a monster. That had not been done in a while. They were in hysterics.

    It made this 70 year grandpa/Boppa smile from ear to ear. And swimming with the boys is the best!!!

    You and Shawn are doing a good job raising the boys. Keep it up!



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